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MELBOURNE, Australia (


) --

BHP Billiton

(BHP) - Get BHP Group Limited American Depositary Shares (Each representing two) Report

, the world's largest miner, said Wednesday it was

taking its bid


Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan


directly to Potash shareholders.

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"We firmly believe that PotashCorp shareholders will find the certainty of a cash offer, at a premium of 32% to the 30-trading day period average, very attractive and we have therefore decided to make this offer directly to those shareholders," said BHP Billiton Chairman Jac Nasser, in a statement.

BHP confirmed Wednesday it intended to make an all-cash offer to acquire Potash for for $130 a share, or $40 billion.

"The acquisition will accelerate BHP Billiton's entry into the fertilizer industry and is consistent with the company's strategy of becoming a leading global miner of potash," BHP said in a press release. "PotashCorp's potash mining operations are a natural fit with BHP Billiton's greenfield land holdings in Saskatchewan, Canada."

Potash on Tuesday

rejected BHP Billiton's initial offer

at the same $130 a share price, calling the offer "grossly inadequate."

BHP Billiton said Wednesday it believes the proposed acquisition will be earnings per share accretive in the second full fiscal year following consolidation.

Shares of Potash closed Tuesday at $143.17.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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Photo Credit: Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan


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